BP hopeful of re-entering oil bidding round in the UAE

November 12, 2012 - 7:02:55 am

ABU DHABI: Oil major BP Plc, shut out of pre-qualification bidding to develop Abu Dhabi’s largest onshore oilfields, is hopeful it can be included in the process and is waiting to hear soon on the issue, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said yesterday.

“I’m positive about it ... I’m optimistic that cooperation will go on for a long time,” Dudley said on the sidelines of an oil and gas event in the UAE capital, adding that he hopes to hear about the concessions “in the next week or so”.

Industry sources had told Reuters in August that BP, which holds a 9.5 percent stake in the ADCO concession that is coming up for renewal in 2014, would not be allowed to participate in the pre-qualification process due to the United Arab Emirates’ irritation over UK policies. 

“We never knew we were excluded and I think the spirit and the feeling of the communications that we have is positive and we have been talking at multiple levels on this,” Dudley said. 

Asked if British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the UAE last week had made a difference for BP’s future over the concessions, Dudley said: “I think David Cameron has been a great advocate for British business in general in a broad sense so it was  good to see him here in Abu Dhabi.”

Cameron visited the UAE last week as part of a wider trade and diplomacy tour of the Gulf. Lucrative arms deals were a main topic of discussion, as well as British efforts to balance concerns over human rights issues in Gulf states, which have struggled to contain protests inspired by the Arab Spring.  

Cameron’s visit came as oil majors operating in UAE brace for a decision from Abu Dhabi on the oil and gas concessions. The concessions system allows oil and gas producers to acquire equity in hydrocarbons from the Opec member in return for investing in projects.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co’s director-general said the firm preferred to maintain the current structure of concessions in the United Arab Emirates and that it would present its recommendation to the Supreme Petroleum Council of Abu Dhabi (SPC) by early next year at the latest.

“It is our recommendation to have the same format. But this will be submitted to the SPC and they can decide if they want to change,” Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi told reporters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference. “Submission is going to be late this year or early next year.”